The Data Analysis Group (DAG) is a team of scientists with strong computational skills who can provide advice on programming, statistics and general biological data analysis and can collaborate on larger, short or medium term bioinformatics projects. The DAG can analyse large datasets (e.g. from microarray, next-generation sequencing, proteomics, imaging) to extract biological knowledge. The DAG can also develop innovative bioinformatics software and databases. Work carried out with the DAG may lead directly to joint publications and generic software, and/or provide the groundwork for a grant application that would include a dedicated computational position.
The DAG has grown from and is co-located with Prof. Geoff Barton's Bioinformatics research group and has expanded in 2009 from an initial appointment in 2006 (Chris Cole, SBRN) through close collaboration with the GRE Centre which has
funded two new positions in the group (Pieta Schofield and Marek Gierlinski). Sustainability of the DAG is being
achieved by funding from a mixture of sources including Geoff Barton's grants, Doreen Cantrell's grants, and
percentages of some other BBSRC and Wellcome Trust grants.
The bioinformatics groups at Dundee have always collaborated with
experimentalists. Collaboration on a specific biological system (e.g. kinases or glycosyl transferases) has led to new general studies of proteins, new computational techniques and databases. In the past
we have been able to contribute to collaborations when the goals of the research have been in line with our existing research
grants. However, there are many opportunities to do interesting science at the interface between computing and biology that require more time to be dedicated than is possible with this model and
yet are not large enough at the outset to justify a full grant application. The Data Analysis Group (DAG) enables a larger range of collaborations to be carried
out between the "dry" bioinformatics research labs and different "wet" groups across the College of Life Sciences and also provides a core of experts who can give advice on analysis problems.
Who can work with the Data Analysis Group?
We are happy to talk with any scientist who is planning data
intensive experiments pertinent to biology or has a question about biological data analysis.
How do I work with the Data Analysis Group?
You can make initial contact with Geoff Barton or with any member
of the team to discuss the kind of challenge you are facing. If it is a quick question about how to do something, we can probably help you
straight away. If it looks like the sort of project we would need to spend time on and might be able to work with, then we ask that the leader of your group writes a short (2-3 page) description of the
problem so that we can consider it at our weekly group meetings. Although we can often make more of data you already have, it is much better if you can talk to us before you generate a lot of data as
we may be able to help you optimise an experimental strategy, or in some cases eliminate the need for an experiment. Ideally, talk to us when you are thinking about the experiment so that we can advise
on statistical power and the complexities of downstream analysis.
Management of the Data Analysis Group
Prof. Geoff Barton leads the group. The team collectively discusses
and decides project allocations. A management group exists currently centred on the GRE Centre and helps prioritise projects.